Integrative Medicine Blog

Acupuncture, Spleen 9 & Weight Loss

Liza Pollock L.Ac, M.Ac.O.M. Sunday, January 06, 2019

How acupuncture can help with weight loss.

Acupuncture and herbs are powerful tools for ensuring digestive wellness.

Often with the turn of the new year, there is a goal to focus on our physical wellness, including weight loss. I’m often asked if acupuncture can help with weight loss, and the answer is yes, of course in conjunction with good nutrition and exercise. Both acupuncture and herbs can assist with the healthy functioning of the digestive system and metabolism.

According to Chinese medicine, excess weight is often attributed to what we refer to as dampness. Two of the main organs that deal with digestion are the stomach and spleen, and their function is to transform and transport the food and drink we take in. Dampness is not a normal diagnostic term used in western medicine, but it is easy to understand. When the spleen and stomach are working together digestion runs smoothly, water and nutrients are well absorbed, and the body metabolizes food and fluid intake well.

When these two organs are not working in harmony, due to stress, over eating or eating a lot of greasy food and even dairy, dampness can occur. Excess water in the system doesn’t move well and symptoms such as edema, swelling, bloating, gas, diarrhea or loose stools, brain fog, sluggishness, difficulty with urination, and achey joints and heavy limbs (especially if these get worse with damp weather) can be experienced.

Two points come to mind to help with weight loss. One is an auricular point on the ear called the “hunger” point or “appetite control” point as it helps with excessive appetite. The other is Spleen 9, named “Yin Ling Quan” or Yin Mound Spring, whose main function is to resolve dampness. It can be very tender when there are symptoms of dampness. It is located on the inside of the leg, under the knee in the soft spot just next to the border of the top of the tibia and calve muscle. Points are never used by themselves as stand alone treatments, so other points would be chosen to help bring back the healthy functioning of organs and systems. But if you are experiencing symptoms of dampness, self acupressure at Spleen 9 would be very beneficial.

May all your new year’s goals be manageable and attained!